NLB posts $9m loss on Covid-19 impact

The New Lantao Bus Co (NLB) has recorded a HK$9 million annual loss as a result of plunging passenger numbers caused by the coronavirus.

NLB’s parent company, Kwoon Chung Bus Holdings, said revenue “dropped drastically in February and March,” widening the annual loss.

It said it expects a loss in the 2020-21 financial year as well.

Besides the sharp fall in passengers on Lantau bus routes, NLB was also forced to suspend its recently-opened shuttle services to the HK-Macau bridge.

Kwoon Chung does not disclose details of its NLB operations, but says the business usually runs at a loss or a narrow profit.

It said it expects NLB to operate in the red “in the coming financial year as fare increase [sic] is not likely to be approved anytime soon and the group has to rely on the subsidy offered by the government to maintain a positive cash flow position.”

Kwoon Chung said net profit for 2019-20 was HK$22 million, down 92% from the previous year, and revenue of HK$2.463 billion was 17% lower.

NLB was forced into an embarassing climbdown in March after trying to slash its Lantau services without Transport Department permission.

It apologised for several days of chaos in which buses ran at irregular intervals, but said it would still pursue cuts to services.

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